Mayor slay suspects not the killers: NPA

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


THE New People’s Army (NPA) has accused authorities of wrongfully charging three men as responsible in the slaying of Impasug-ong town Mayor Mario Okinlay.

In an e-mailed statement released to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Friday, the NPA called the charges against the suspects -- brothers Joven and Efren Yanggo and Ryan Daluniag -- as “trumped-up.”

"Instead of conducting a thorough investigation, they merely relied on guesswork and randomly pointed their fingers at the first likely scapegoats. After only two days of investigation, they effortlessly filed charges against the three," said Ariel Magbanuag, NPA South Central Bukidnon command spokesperson, referring to the Regional Task Group-Elected Government Official (RTG-EGO) Okinlay headed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Director Pedro Austria.

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Okinlay was ambushed in Barangay Bontongon on July 2 while on board a motorcycle bound for home from a visit in a far-flung barangay in the municipality of Impasug-ong. The NPA owned up Okinlay’s slay.

[READ: Bukidnon town mayor ambushed]

In a Mindanews report, Vice Governor Alex Calingasan said: "It is important that we know how they were identified. We thought they already surrendered. How do we know if they are not fall guys? The communists may even laugh at us if that is so."

The site also reported the Yanggo brothers were former rebels who surrendered in 2011 and received financial assistance from government based on records from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp).

The statement read the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) "completely relied on false accusation."

“The AFP and PNP know that they have no genuine witnesses to prove their accusations. But they will not hesitate to make scapegoats out of civilians to fool the public into believing that they have not been idle in cases like this. In doing so, they are soiling their own image and alienating themselves all the more from the people,” it added.

Inspector Joan Galvez, Bukidnon PPO spokesperson, debunked the NPA’s claims in a text message sent to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Friday.

"The court can only determine whether the accused are innocent or not since the case was already filed," Galvez said. "Therefore, there was prima facie (at first appearance) evidence to hold them. Let the judge decide. All issues contended pertaining their apprehensions are mere alibis to escape their liabilities and this is also a part of their propaganda to destroy the credibility and reliability of the PNP and AFP."

In a separate statement sent to Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro earlier, the NPA condemned the police for arresting two males at Sitio Maynaga, Barangay Iba in Cabanglasan town, Bukidnon.

Melvin Anggumao, 20, and Joeffrey Ganancia, 18, both residents of Maynaga, were arrested by a team of the Police Public Safety Company on July 22 for allegedly attacking Sumifru’s pineapple plantation in the area.

Arson has been filed against them.

According to reports, relatives and barangay officials vouched for the innocence of the arrested persons and requested municipal officials to revoke the false charges. The two, however, have remained under police custody.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 26, 2014.

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